Sororities - is it worth the cost?

<p>My D who is on a full scholarship took part in rushing last week. She went into the process thinking that she was interested in seeing how the process worked but wasn't 100% convinced she wanted to join one. At the end she felt like she had met a group of girls just like herself and was accepted into AOII.</p>

<p>She knows that finances are a huge concern for us and we had agreed that we would cover the extra cost of her fees for her sorority as a loan (to be paid at some point down the line when she has a job). She is hoping to be given an RA position next year which she would then use in subsequent years to upgrade her housing.</p>

<p>They are given one month to see if they like being in a sorority before paying any dues. Already she has been told of events where certain dress code is required and she feels that all of these extras are going to be outwith our budget. She doesn't have a large wardrobe of clothes and most of these events would require her to purchase new dresses etc.</p>

<p>Has anyone been in a sorority and not taken part in all of these extra events where certain dress code is expected? Is it still worthwhile being in a sorority if you don't take part in everything?</p>

<p>I believe each school may have different expectations once the women are full members, but as a new pledge they are usually expected to take part in most of the social events. One of the nice thing that DD found about being in a sorority is the "community closet". There is a lot of clothes sharing that goes on. She might not need a new outfit of her own for each event and that could ease the burden.</p>

<p>Make sure you carefully read the contract that must be signed - not sure if by you or by her - when she joins. Typically, they are very hard to get out of and if she decides she doesn't like it you may be stuck with the fees until she graduates, even if she decides she doesn't want to participate anymore.</p>

<p>D1 wore a lot of her dresses from High School formals (although she did shorten the dresses!) to sorority events. And I saw a lot of her dresses on other girls as well. YMV, but for us, the first year, when she lived out, it was kind of expensive, but the fee paid covered all the dances, exchanges, sisterhood events, Monday night dinners, etc.... She did buy lots of t-shirts for various events, and a lot of the parties she went to were "themed" so she bought various costumes, mostly from Goodwill, etc... Second year she lived in the sorority house. Living in the sorority house was considerably cheaper than living in the on-campus dorms. So it was definitely a win-win situation for us.</p>

<p>You have an awful lot of variables to consider here.</p>

<p>Can your budget afford the dues and other expenses she may need? There are many ways to economize – sharing dresses, doing your own hair and makeup etc. but dues aren’t one of them. There are added expenses that someone going in might not consider. A big chunk of change can go to all those gifts for your Little to welcome them!</p>

<p>Does she have to live in the house and for how long? Does her scholarship include housing? Would she lose that if she moved into the house? You state she hopes to be an RA and keep the job for the next 3 years. How easy is it to get an RA position and keep it? It’s usually very time consuming. Would she be able to keep her grades up to whatever her scholarship requires AND meet her sorority’s expectations for events, philanthropy, etc. I would say in general, it’s fairly unusual to find Greeks as RAs.</p>

<p>What is Greek life at her school? How much of the social life is available outside the system? If you read the various posts that come up from time to time you’ll see that the impact of Greek life on campus can vary from little to all consuming. Would she still be able to do things with these girls if she didn’t join? As for skipping events, for some chapters it’s no big deal, for others missing ANY event is a major crime. </p>

<p>Is it worth it? You’ll find people on either side. For some it was the start of lifelong friendships that money can’t buy, for others it was a stressful waste of money. It’s a very personal decision and you and your DD will have to determine whether or not it could work for you.</p>

<p>This is so dependent on what school she is at, I hesitate to respond......</p>

<p>^^^ She is at Rollins College in Florida. She is on a full Cornell Scholarship which pays for a shared double room for all 4 years. She is hoping to be an RA just next year and then use any funds from that one year to upgrade her housing for the next 2 years (possibly living in the sorority house one year). </p>

<p>Although she went in with 32 credits she has taken on a heavy workload this semester along with a night class in the graduate school and is worried also about the time needed to be in a sorority - obviously next year she could take less classes, but this semester could be tricky. She is doing a Biology major and hoping to do a theater minor - both very time consuming.</p>

<p>She seemed so excited at the weekend but is now thinking both about the time involved and the cost. We could manage her fees but she is not a big spender on clothes and possibly feels the constant need for new clothes a bit much.</p>

<p>Great idea about sharing dresses - I will mention that to her.</p>

<p>I am thinking that under the circumstances the sorority can waive her dues and some fees.</p>

<p>I hope some sorority alum Moms on this board can suggest the right approach to this.</p>

<p>It does depend on each schools' sororities' policies.</p>

<p>Frankly, I think some/many have become very expensive to the point that "average kids" can't afford them. I was surprised when one fraternity boy told me that he spends at least $8k per year on frat-related expenses. Yikes!</p>

<p>Dues can be only a fraction of the costs. The clothes, dresses, T-shirts, and sometimes travel costs for events just keep piling up. </p>

<p>How strong is the Greek system at your D's school?</p>

<p>Sororities can be worth the cost, if you can afford them.</p>

<p>I had a wonderful experience in a sorority and actually learned a whole lot that prepared me for the "real world" that I never learned in classes...leadership, management, etc. It's been a long time, I do remember formals and such...but it was OK not to attend...although your dd may want to and feel badly if she can't. I do remember girls having a hard time getting the $ together to pay dues, etc. It's an added pressure I'm sure they must've had a tough time with.</p>

<p>"How strong is the Greek system at your D's school? "</p>

<p>We're not from the US so have no experience of Greek life either on her campus or any other. I'm not sure how strong it is but I get the impression that it's probably more laid back than in a lot of other schools.</p>

<p>I was in a fraternity at a state university. I had a good time. My wife was the president of her sorority [called a "society"] at Wake Forest. We have a daughter who is a senior in high school. We hope that she doesn't "go Greek" in college. I always admired the students who were able to navigate college outside of the Greek system. The whole system, quite frankly, seems archaic and a little silly to us now. Your daughter is obviously very bright. It sounds like she has a full plate at Rollins. Your family's on a budget. Why don't you encourage your daughter to stay"Independent"?</p>

<p>Some sororities offer "scholarships" to help defray costs. D has a friend who pledged a national sorority and was encouraged to apply for one when she expressed concerns about costs. This is at MIT. She loves it and is very active.</p>

<p>
[quote]
Make sure you carefully read the contract that must be signed - not sure if by you or by her - when she joins. Typically, they are very hard to get out of and if she decides she doesn't like it you may be stuck with the fees until she graduates, even if she decides she doesn't want to participate anymore.

[/quote]
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<p>I have never heard of this. So if a girl decides to de-activate, what do they do? Take her to small claims court? I don't believe it.</p>

<p>^^ I can only report my experience from <em>gulp</em> about 20 years ago. I wanted to deactivate and we (my parents and I) decided that it wasn't worth it - and my dad is a lawyer. They certainly have a financial stake in it.</p>

<p>I agree on the dress sharing we did it all the time when I was in college. You also learn to shop when dresses are on clearance for the next year. Expenses can run high in a sorority, but I can tell you I enjoyed my experience very much and learned some great life skills. I can plan a mean fundraiser to this day!</p>

<p>What are the advantages of being in a sorority or fraternity?</p>

<p>To those who spoke of learning leadership and management skills, and how to fundraise, I think those are all wonderful byproducts of being in a sorority. But I want to add: when I joined the Junior League, I heard many women say that the League helped them get those skills. So if she chooses not to be part of the sorority, she can get similar benefits through other organizations.</p>

<p>Floridalady-- My D(also at Rollins) received a bid and the funny thing is up till the night before she really was not planning to join a sorority. She was going thru rush just for the experience and had always felt that greek life was not for her. She was very concerned about time constraints and the money but could not get over the feeling of the happiness. We had always said why pay money to join a group and being that she is already a very social girl we felt it was not necessary. Well we talked it over a long time and the benefits she sees from being in a sorority is becoming clearer to her. </p>

<p>Besides the social networking there is a draw for the community service(which of course is available outside greek life). The leadership positions also appeal to her even though my feelings are that she already has opportunities outside the group. I guess what I'm saying is that many of the opportunities exist outside greek life but does she feel like reaching those goals are more easily attainable within the group? My D just has that overall sense that this is right for her so we are supporting that decision.</p>

<p>Also, the dress sharing has already begun. Even though we can help her financially she was raised to be mindful of what she has and what she needs. She can be very frugal with her money which makes her creative when shopping/planning for apparel and costumes. I have heard about the scholarships so she should investigate more. What I know from her older brother is that Rollins Greek life is different than at some state schools. He is not greek but has friends who are involved.</p>